Thursday, May 10, 2012


I'm approaching two anniversaries of sorts.

In August 2010, my partner of fifteen years and legally married husband of one year ten months asked me for a divorce. I was shocked by his announcement and deeply hurt and enraged as to the manner in which he asked; via email from the living room to the dining room. Yet, I know I will be better off in the long run and have already made great strides in knowing the path I am taking now is the right one.

In May 2011, I began chatting online with a man who would turn my world upside down. Over the course of the summer of 2011, I fell deeply in love with him. But, due to circumstances I am still unsure of, things did not work out between us and as of Thanksgiving 2011, we have not been in contact. For whatever pain and hurt I may have caused him, I am truly sorry.

I have learned a lot about myself because of him and I will always be very grateful to him and to the Universe for leading him to me for those lessons. I have chronicled my journey past him, and my ex, in previous posts.

This past year has been difficult for me as there was so much in the Man I Met that appealed to me; he was nurturing, gentle, supportive, intelligent and very good looking. He has been constantly in my thoughts, and I began asking myself if I was clinging to a false hope. Would he ever change his mind? But he said that anything beyond a friendship would never be realized, and therefore I felt we needed to go our separate ways in order for me to heal and move forward. But, was I allowing myself to?

I began having those post-break up thoughts (even though we never were more than friends, and because I was in love with him, I had to think of it as a break-up); what if I see him again? what if I run into him? how will I feel?

Recently, I had that opportunity. The partner of a colleague and friend annually rides in the AIDS Lifecycle, a fundraising bicycle ride over 7 days and 500 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles. My friend goes along to support his partner and dresses in outlandish costumes, standing by the side of the road encouraging the other riders.  He also produces a film about his experiences on each ride. He entered his latest film, AIDS LIFECYCLE 10 - The Long Road (The Ride According To Viagra Man), in a local film festival and created a Facebook event page for it. As my friend and the Man I Met were both Facebook friends of mine at one point and later befriended each other, I assumed the Man I Met saw the invitation to the Film Festival and might be there as he rode AIDS Lifecycle 10 that year. I decided to attend for three reasons; to get out of the house, to support my friend's film and to gauge my reaction should I encounter the Man I Met. (I had blocked the Man I Met as it became too painful to see him in my Facebook feed.)

Captain Condom, "Safety First!"
I purchased my ticket two weeks in advance, and began to wonder how I might react. I played out various scenes in my head. Would I turn and leave? Would I stand there stoically? Would I break down and cry? Could I hug him hello/goodbye? Did I still love him?

The week prior to this, I had gone to a bar in East Hollywood and had a mild anxiety attack over it and actually considered not going. (See my post "A Neon Penis," 4/30/2012 for details.) Ironically, this time there was no anxiety and I never seriously considered NOT going. I knew I had to. I had to know where I was, what I felt.

Okay, I lied, sort of. There was some anxiety, but not enough to deter me. But, I still kept thinking of how I might react. I surprised myself with how determined I was to go and possibly see him.

Viagra Man, "Keep it up!"
It did seem very strange seeing this film knowing the Man I Met might appear on screen, if only for a flash. The other very eerie part of this is I actually met the Man on the last day of the ride. Seeing the riders arrive at the Veteran's Building in West Los Angeles knowing I would be there a few hours later and that my life would be changing was very surreal. The Man I Met ended up stranded in West Los Angeles with no way home. He posted this on Facebook and after a series of texts, I ended up driving him home and he took me to dinner out of gratitude for rescuing him. It was a beautiful evening, I felt, and left knowing I wanted to see him again, most importantly, first as a friend and then, maybe.... It was the best 'not a real blind date' I've ever had. We saw each other a few more times over the summer, but mostly texted and chatted and exchanged pictures of a non-sexual nature; sunsets, flowers, etc. (See my post, "I Met a Man," 9/25/2011, for the story.)

But, he didn't come see the film. So, I don't know how I might react when/if I see him again. Was I sad? I'm not sure, maybe a little, but I do know, I am strong enough not to let him deter me from going out. And should I ever encounter him, it may be awkward, but I do know I will get through it.

Most importantly, I do know I will move on. In time.

For more information on the AIDS Lifecycle please click on this link.

The movie is a wonderfully touching testimony not only to the ride itself, but also to the people who come together for this inspiring event. It follows the ride, from the beginning in San Francisco with the arrival of the riders themselves and the roadies who support them and keep the ride itself moving, to the final day when the riders arrive in Los Angeles, seven days later. We see the crazy fun filled moments, meant to keep everyone's spirits up, and the poignant, touching moments reminding us why we need the ride in the first place.  We meet several of the riders, from some veterans of more than one ride, to the 'ride virgins' on their maiden trek. Most of all, we see this movie as a labor of love, as a tribute to a successful fundraising event trying to find a cure for HIV/AIDS and to support those who have it.

For more information on AIDS Lifecycle 10 - The Long Road (The Ride According to Viagra Man) click on this link.

No comments:

Post a Comment